We’ve all heard these, some old, some almost plausible and others are just crazy.
1. Letting your dog out in the yard is enough exercise.
Unless you have several acres and other dogs for them to play with, you will have to take your pup for walks. Leaving your dog in the backyard in the city simply isn’t enough. If there isn’t enough space for you to go for a run, it probably isn’t big enough for your dog either.
2. Dogs only wag their tails when they’re happy.
Body language can be difficult to read, and one thing is never a definite indicator. In the same way that people can smile for different reasons e.g. uncomfortable smiles, dogs wag their tails in a variety of situations.
3. You don’t need to brush your dog’s teeth.
This misconception may stem from the “Dog mouths are cleaner than human mouths” myth, which we will address next. Regardless of where it came from, it’s untrue. Dogs with smaller teeth will need more frequent brushing as they accumulate plaque more easily. Just like in humans, sugar promotes plaque growth.
You may be saying; “Wild dogs never had their teeth brushed” however it wasn’t often that they lived long enough for cavities to be an issue.
4. Dog mouths are cleaner than human mouths.
Dogs and humans have an incredible amount of bacteria in their mouths; neither are particularly bad for you. Think about where that tongue goes; the toilet, your face, the garbage, your face. Cleanliness is the absence of dirt not the ability to live with it.
5. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
If your dog can understand you, it can learn from you (within reason). Older dogs often require more patience to teach but this does not mean that when your dog reaches a certain age it is unfit to learn. Now it’s unlikely your older dog will want to be jumping through flaming hoops and rescuing kids from wells, but simple tricks and commands are no problem.
6. A puppy has to be at least six months old to be trained.
This is not true, but remains in people minds because of the heavy training collars used in the past. Using the collars on the young pups was abrasive to their necks at a young age. Dogs start learning as soon as they can see, they may have short attention spans but it’s not impossible. Their mom starts teaching them early, so why shouldn’t you?
7. Dogs are color blind
The term color blind covers quite a few conditions. Dog’s are not color blind, their eyes use blue and yellow and shades of gray for the rest. Here is an article detailing the difference between human and dog vision.
8. Dogs age seven years for each human year.
This is false, it may be true at one point in a dogs life but or something to be factual it must always be true. Dogs age quickly during their childhood but slow down as they get older. You shouldn’t figure out a dog’s age based solely on a number, everyone ages differently. Regular vet trips are the best way to approximate the aging process.
9. Only male dogs hump other dogs.
This is a surprising one but still untrue. Humping has been attributed to being an act of dominance, not just a sexual act. While it may still be awkward to see, it’s nice to know why it happens.
10. Chocolate is fine/terrible for your dog.
Chocolate can be a sensitive topic for many people, as there are many factors to consider. Here is a tool to calculate the toxicity level of chocolate for dogs. In general though, the darker and bitterer chocolate is far more dangerous to your dog’s health than the lighter stuff.